The Wind, she Blew

Anyone who remembers the days of pushing a broom to clean off paved areas after mowing can appreciate what the introduction of blowers has meant to the green industry. Blowers today make it possible for you to get a variety of jobs done quickly in an environmentally efficient manner. They increase productivity and the more productive the equipment, the more productive the business. The key is to select a blower that best fits your needs. So with all the options available, you don't want to blow it when choosing a product that matches those needs.

Most manufacturers produce blowers in different sizes with different engine types that are designed for either commercial or residential use. The hand-held blowers are better suited for smaller cleaning jobs while the backpacks are geared more toward commercial use. Besides which type, some points to consider when selecting a blower include power, comfort and noise.

POWER TRIP

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Echo Inc. offers hand-held models powered by 21.2cc and 22.8cc engines. The company's backpack blower line includes models using 25.4cc, 39.7cc, 44cc, 58.2cc and 63.3cc engines. “The larger models are excellent for large-scale applications and for moving objects across grassy surfaces,” says Steve Herbst, product manager at Echo. “Smaller units may be appropriate when noise is an issue or when cleaning smaller surface areas.”

Jay Larsen, product marketing and communications manager for Shindaiwa, points out that landscape contractors often prefer a backpack blower because it's strong and finishes jobs quickly. Larsen adds that the same C4 Technology the company has applied to its first fuel-mixed 2-stroke/4-stroke T2500 trimmer will soon be included in other engine-powered products including blowers. The C4 Technology engine allows approximately 33 percent longer run time compared to the company's T230 trimmer.

ERGONOMICALLY CORRECT

Manufacturers agree operator comfort is an important aspect of a well-equipped blower. Husqvarna, for example, has included a double shoulder harness and hip pad on backpack blowers to reduce stress on the shoulders and back. Husqvarna's Mark Michaels, business unit manager of handheld products, points out that the hand-held blowers have an in-line handle, so that the wrist is not forced to rotate in an unnatural position. Michaels says, “Each blower utilizes an air purged design, so with one touch of a button, the blower can be started. For ease of operation, the backpack blowers have a tube-mounted fingertip control. The control has an infinite control adjustment to reduce wind flow around flowers, rocks and other materials.”

Weight plays a key role in operator comfort. “Of course, lightweight is a key benefit to the user,” says Kent Hall, Stihl's power tools product manager. “In addition, the Stihl backpack models offer a joystick-style handle with throttle control and stop/run switch. All gas-powered blowers and shredder vacs feature a translucent fuel tank to allow the operator to easily check fuel level before starting work. Adjustable nozzles are great for stairs and operators of different heights. Backpack blowers feature a padded, lightweight polymer frame.”

ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND

Not only do today's blowers offer more comfort and power, but they also offer lower noise levels and better fuel efficiency. Husqvarna uses the E-Tech engine, which reduces emissions and increases fuel efficiency without altering the blower's power. The engine also reduces noise levels along with the sound baffling system.

Herbst says Echo uses improved carburetor- and air-filter systems across all price points to ensure cleaner, longer lasting performance, as well as improved fuel efficiency. Shindaiwa's blowers operate on the advanced impeller design and muffler, main features that reduce noise. The new low emission engine on John Deere blowers burn fuel more completely, resulting in more power, better fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Increasing the muffler size has lowered noise levels. Robert Schmidt, manager of portable power equipment at Deere, says the company works to provide “a wide selection of product offerings to meet the varied customer needs.”

Stihl betters its equipment with the quad-port cylinder design, state-of-the-art carburetors, improved exhaust mufflers, efficient 2-ring pistons and air filtering systems, which all contribute to added fuel efficiency.

Despite the ever-increasing challenges noise and emissions regulations create, companies continue to improve new products to meet the needs of the market.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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